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P Wright
13-May-2016, 12:57
I was visiting the Badger Graphics website and I saw a notice that said Ebony Camera is going out of business on June 31, 2016. Has anyone else heard this? Tell me it's not so!

IanG
13-May-2016, 13:11
There's a few new players in the market as well as the other two (or three) Chinese manufacturers, and it's a small market place these days. So maybe not unexpected.

Ian

dave_whatever
13-May-2016, 14:08
Be a huge shame if true. Especially as I can't afford the Ebony I want as it is, and this won't help.

barnacle
13-May-2016, 14:47
Curiously, nothing about it on the Ebony site.

Neil

Two23
13-May-2016, 14:49
Or MPEX site either.


Kent in SD

BarryS
13-May-2016, 15:09
Funny, I just saw a fb post from someone who'd seen new Ebony Camera models in a meeting with the owner. Sad to see a maker of such fine cameras go out of business, if this ends up being true.

peter schrager
13-May-2016, 15:25
Nice cameras but waaaay over priced

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G900A using Tapatalk

Pfsor
13-May-2016, 15:27
I was visiting the Badger Graphics website and I saw a notice that said Ebony Camera is going out of business on June 31, 2016. Has anyone else heard this? Tell me it's not so!

Just a small correction:
From Badger Graphics site - Ebony Camera will be going out of business June 30, 2016. (The month of June has only 30 days - don't wait to order your new Ebony up to 31th June).

Randy Moe
13-May-2016, 15:31
http://www.badgergraphic.com/opencart/index.php?route=product/category&path=2

Sad to hear and read. See link above.

Drew Wiley
13-May-2016, 15:44
Well, there are quite a few players in the market offering very nice options. I think Ebony was the best ever series of wooden cameras - not perfect (nobody is),
but let's face it - a machinist's approach to fabricating wood, fully cured pattern grade mahogany (a rare commodity nowadays), or of course, ebony wood, titanium
hardware - yikes, I'm describing something stuffed into my backpack once again this summer!

P Wright
13-May-2016, 15:49
Sorry for the mistake on the date!

Lachlan 717
13-May-2016, 16:57
Maybe they can't get any more Ebony and don't want law suits for false advertising?

Oren Grad
13-May-2016, 17:30
It's true.

A little while ago I sent a short query in Japanese to Hiromi Sakanashi. I just received the following:

お問い合わせ有り難うございます。

弊社は、来る6月30日をもちまして、閉鎖する予定になっております。

これまでのご支援ご愛顧に深く御礼申し上げます。

株式会社 エボニー
坂梨 寛美

Roughly: Thank you for contacting us. We plan to close on June 30. Thank you deeply for your support/patronage up to now. Ebony Company, Sakanashi Hiromi

I will edit the thread title accordingly.

Jonathan Barlow
13-May-2016, 17:31
Their prohibitive pricing had to limit their market. They could cut their prices in half and perhaps stay in business.

axs810
13-May-2016, 17:31
Wow who can replace Ebony?

Two23
13-May-2016, 17:47
Wow who can replace Ebony?


A few years ago I really wanted an Ebony 4x5, mostly because they are so beautiful! I just can't justify >$2,000 for a camera though. I ended up with a Chamonix. It's not an Ebony, but it's very nice. It's done everything I've asked. I bought it used for ~$600. I do feel that Ebony closing is a loss to LF users.


Kent in SD

Randy Moe
13-May-2016, 17:58
A few years ago I really wanted an Ebony 4x5, mostly because they are so beautiful! I just can't justify >$2,000 for a camera though. I ended up with a Chamonix. It's not an Ebony, but it's very nice. It's done everything I've asked. I bought it used for ~$600. I do feel that Ebony closing is a loss to LF users.


Kent in SD

Definitely. I want one and a Ferrari, but I will never have either, but I am happy they exist.

Greg Y
13-May-2016, 18:02
With regard to the economic comments. There is a huge difference between China & Japan. Real estate, rent, wages, standard of living. The Ebony is a piece of fine art, made in small numbers. Their closing is a loss to the LF community.

Daniel Stone
13-May-2016, 18:12
Don't expect used prices to go down now... Just sayin. Hell, look at Phillips cameras, almost cult status(with good reason!)

B.S.Kumar
13-May-2016, 19:21
Sakanashi-san's age may be a factor and there maybe no one to carry on the business.

Kumar

Tim Meisburger
13-May-2016, 19:23
I have a 45s which I expect to die with. It really is a pleasure to use. When I was shopping for it (I bought it used) I couldn't decide between the non-folding 45s in ebony and the folding SV45 in mahogany. I got the ebony, but I still wonder... Sad to see them go.

Tim Meisburger
13-May-2016, 19:27
Sakanashi-san's age may be a factor and there maybe no one to carry on the business.

Kumar

Kumar or Oren - Could one of you contact him and see if his parts supplier is up for selling parts kits? It would be great if those are made by someone else and could continue to be available for the DIY crowd.

Sal Santamaura
13-May-2016, 21:26
Sakanashi-san's age may be a factor and there maybe no one to carry on the business...My old View Camera magazines aren't readily accessible right now, but I seem to remember a short article around a dozen or more years ago which profiled Hiromi and mentioned that his daughter was going to take over the business.

The most likely explanation is that Chinese competition and humanity's "Walmart" attitude did in Ebony on price. That combined with the decline in view camera use since digital photography essentially replaced film for commercial applications, which is how most large format cameras were used in "the good old days."

Two23
13-May-2016, 21:40
The most likely explanation is that Chinese competition and humanity's "Walmart" attitude did in Ebony on price. That combined with the decline in view camera use since digital photography essentially replaced film for commercial applications, which is how most large format cameras were used in "the good old days."


Yeah, but I have to wonder how many people running a business would buy a high end field camera rather than a plain jane Sinar or Cambo monorail if all they wanted was something utilitarian. The Ebony appeals to the "Leica" end of LF users, I think. There is some status involved. I think that while the number of people using LF has obviously decreased since the 1990s, it was under assault even then with cameras such as Fuji 680 and Hassleblad Flex. The people using LF commercially generally did so in a studio, and monorails reigned supreme. If anything, we are now in the age of field cameras with serious hobbyists looking for cameras that are portable, "sexy", and a good value (in that they aren't likely to be earning $$ with it.) My walnut and titanium Chamonix does all that for me at a fraction of the cost. Ebony could most likely have cut costs by moving production to China or somewhere, but must not have wanted to do that. At $1,500 I would have been a buyer of a 4x5.


Kent in SD

Sal Santamaura
13-May-2016, 22:17
Yeah, but I have to wonder how many people running a business would buy a high end field camera rather than a plain jane Sinar or Cambo monorail if all they wanted was something utilitarian...Back in "the good old days," a Sinar was probably more expensive than an Ebony. Cambo had some high-priced models too. Ebony was largely sold to professionals then, particularly in Japan.


...Ebony could most likely have cut costs by moving production to China or somewhere, but must not have wanted to do that...I should say not. It wouldn't be an Ebony, and the bellows would likely stink rather than exuding the pleasant leather aroma they do. :)


...At $1,500 I would have been a buyer of a 4x5...Then you are probably happy with all the Chinese options available at that level.

Personally, I'm perfectly content with my SV57 and SV Wholeplate. I've occasionally pondered adding an SV45Ti, but my 4x5 Phillips (from Dick's last production) will have to do now. :D

Oren Grad
13-May-2016, 22:50
Kumar or Oren - Could one of you contact him and see if his parts supplier is up for selling parts kits? It would be great if those are made by someone else and could continue to be available for the DIY crowd.

That's probably best done by somebody who can offer some combination of 1) having an existing relationship, 2) being fluent in Japanese, 3) being local. Afraid I'm zero for three.

B.S.Kumar
13-May-2016, 23:07
That's probably best done by somebody who can offer some combination of 1) having an existing relationship, 2) being fluent in Japanese, 3) being local. Afraid I'm zero for three.

I'm local, but I don't have an Ebony, and can barely get by in Japanese.

Kumar

Theodoros
14-May-2016, 04:49
Yeah, but I have to wonder how many people running a business would buy a high end field camera rather than a plain jane Sinar or Cambo monorail if all they wanted was something utilitarian. The Ebony appeals to the "Leica" end of LF users, I think. There is some status involved. I think that while the number of people using LF has obviously decreased since the 1990s, it was under assault even then with cameras such as Fuji 680 and Hassleblad Flex. The people using LF commercially generally did so in a studio, and monorails reigned supreme. If anything, we are now in the age of field cameras with serious hobbyists looking for cameras that are portable, "sexy", and a good value (in that they aren't likely to be earning $$ with it.) My walnut and titanium Chamonix does all that for me at a fraction of the cost. Ebony could most likely have cut costs by moving production to China or somewhere, but must not have wanted to do that. At $1,500 I would have been a buyer of a 4x5.


Kent in SD

The number of people using LF might have decreased, but I don't think that the number of people using view cameras have decreased at all... IMO, view cameras are by nature a kind of camera that offers little reasons for one to upgrade and that affects negatively demand for new products... That said, I think what affects more companies like Ebony is the adaptability they have with respect to image area size/evolution... IMO, no view camera maker will be able to survive in the future unless if the products are able to cope well with image areas down to 35mm film size... Sinar, Arca & Cambo have understand that and thus they offer an upgrade path where a pro can start by using a cheap (Sony a7) mirrorless for image area and use old (but still very capable - with enough image circle) lenses keeping the costs (and the size of equipment) to a minimum, yet sacrificing very little (if any) in quality and then follow a step by step upgrade path (on the same system) up to whatever image area he is after....

One can't blame a young pro (that has perhaps just finished his photography course) for choosing this path... It is sensible and reasonable to do so and thus he will avoid investing on a system that asks him to start with a significantly higher investment that requires larger (and much more costly) image areas and larger image circle lenses.

Bob Salomon
14-May-2016, 06:26
The number of people using LF might have decreased, but I don't think that the number of people using view cameras have decreased at all... IMO, view cameras are by nature a kind of camera that offers little reasons for one to upgrade and that affects negatively demand for new products... That said, I think what affects more companies like Ebony is the adaptability they have with respect to image area size/evolution... IMO, no view camera maker will be able to survive in the future unless if the products are able to cope well with image areas down to 35mm film size... Sinar, Arca & Cambo have understand that and thus they offer an upgrade path where a pro can start by using a cheap (Sony a7) mirrorless for image area and use old (but still very capable - with enough image circle) lenses keeping the costs (and the size of equipment) to a minimum, yet sacrificing very little (if any) in quality and then follow a step by step upgrade path (on the same system) up to whatever image area he is after....

One can't blame a young pro (that has perhaps just finished his photography course) for choosing this path... It is sensible and reasonable to do so and thus he will avoid investing on a system that asks him to start with a significantly higher investment that requires larger (and much more costly) image areas and larger image circle lenses.

Except that path will not delver the results that a modern digital view camera equipped with digital lenses can provide. Thus that new pro will start off behind other well equipped pros. And to get that well equipped will cost about the same as a new car. So maybe the better approach is to start out with a lesser car and become well equipped to compete in their profession.

Kirk Gittings
14-May-2016, 08:56
Except that path will not delver the results that a modern digital view camera equipped with digital lenses can provide. Thus that new pro will start off behind other well equipped pros. And to get that well equipped will cost about the same as a new car. So maybe the better approach is to start out with a lesser car and become well equipped to compete in their profession.

Agreed. Though he didn't specify what he meant by "young pro" I assume he is talking about commercial work. In the commercial field virtually all deliverable products are digital no matter what you start with. With film you start at a distinct disadvantage in terms of workflow and little if any advantage in the final product. Film can work as a nice niche marketing hook that is attractive to the odd client and give a distinctive look to a final product but not a "better" final product. As well established as i am, I would starve shooting film commercially, if nothing else because of the hugely extended processing times.

In terms of cost, most pros I know (and I know top pros in many genres across the country) almost everyone is primarily shooting DSLRs. A good DSLR with good lenses far exceeds the quality needed by most client applications.

Theodoros
14-May-2016, 09:57
I guess both of you didn't read (although quoted) the sentence "yet sacrificing very little in quality and then follow a step by step upgrade path (on the same system) up to whatever image area he is after...." that I end the first paragraph with... I don't see why a skilled young pro shouldn't start with an Arca Universallis (or other) or a used Cambo Ultima using a mirrorless for all his first business cycle and then build his way up "step by step" by adding whatever lenses, MFDBs or sheet film frames he can afford after his work provides... He can't start as low (and cheap) and build his way up with an Ebony or some other makers ...can he?

It is usual for people quoting on posts that they have misread in forums and then "disagree" (in what they should agree) by quoting what has been already said in the first place... I guess I'll have then to repeat my first conclusion that "there's no room" for makers that their equipment isn't adaptable from smaller up to the larger image areas, simply because starters (which are usually weaker financially) will prefer to go with competitor's equipment which can provide them a (very good but) temporary starting position and a clear path towards the "top-end"...

Bob Salomon
14-May-2016, 10:27
I guess both of you didn't read (although quoted) the sentence "yet sacrificing very little in quality and then follow a step by step upgrade path (on the same system) up to whatever image area he is after...." that I end the first paragraph with... I don't see why a skilled young pro shouldn't start with an Arca Universallis (or other) or a used Cambo Ultima using a mirrorless for all his first business cycle and then build his way up "step by step" by adding whatever lenses, MFDBs or sheet film frames he can afford after his work provides... He can't start as low (and cheap) and build his way up with an Ebony or some other makers ...can he?

It is usual for people quoting on posts that they have misread in forums and then "disagree" (in what they should agree) by quoting what has been already said in the first place... I guess I'll have then to repeat my first conclusion that "there's no room" for makers that their equipment isn't adaptable from smaller up to the larger image areas, simply because starters (which are usually weaker financially) will prefer to go with competitor's equipment which can provide them a (very good but) temporary starting position and a clear path towards the "top-end"...

Didn't miss it. But that starter can easily start his way to being out of business if he can't compete against competitors because of a jury rigged starting system.

brucetaylor
14-May-2016, 11:00
Professionally obsolete equipment is just that, obsolete. I was speaking to a motion picture camera dealer the other day, a local camera rental outfit had auctioned off all their film based equipment a couple of years ago. The latest model perfectly functioning studio film cameras that cost 150,000 new sold for as little as $1500. Nonetheless, for old timers like me who appreciate amazing analog machines, it's just sad.

Kirk Gittings
14-May-2016, 11:24
Different question really talking about what we have lost vs. what one needs to compete now. All my personal work is 4x5 film, all my commercial work is DSLR-best tools for each arena based on my needs and skills.

Lachlan 717
14-May-2016, 14:23
Didn't miss it. But that starter can easily start his way to being out of business if he can't compete against competitors because of a jury rigged starting system.

"Jury" rigged?

Bob Salomon
14-May-2016, 14:34
"Jury" rigged?

Patched together

Bill_1856
14-May-2016, 16:00
Just following in the footsteps of Gandolfi and Deardorf.

drew.saunders
14-May-2016, 16:25
After much deliberation and saving of many pennies, I bought an Ebony 45SU in Ebony from Badger in 2008. I think it was May of 2008, but I'd have to dig through old emails to find the purchase confirmation. At the time, I figured it would likely be the last 4x5 I'd ever need to buy, but I picked up a brace of Travelwides (one each), so, technically, it's not the last 4x5 I've bought, but I don't see myself needing a "better" 4x5 camera, even if I were to win the lottery. The Ebony was a big upgrade, in price and quality, from my Tachihara. I hope to use it as long as I can still take photos and find film. It's sad that Ebony is going out of business, but I'm happy to have one. I just told my girlfriend that, should I get run over by a truck, that the Ebony is now worth a fair bit of money!

Jac@stafford.net
14-May-2016, 16:42
It might be good to refresh our perspective by recalling those professional, commercial photographers who used large format. My last exposure to it was Chicago in the mid-seventies where LF was the standard. The pro was located within a short walk to the processing lab. Proofs were provided, adjustments made and upon approval of the art director the project was closed within the day, sometimes later.

The output from 4x5 and usually 8x10 far, far exceeded the requisites of their application. So be it.

Translate that to the current digital flow, efficiency, lower fidelity media and the economics are clear and depressing to old timers.
.

koh303
14-May-2016, 18:05
the economics are clear and depressing to old timers.

Isen't everything new depressing for old timers?
It sure seems that way in the photo business.
Well, then again, they did stomp on Elvitz Perzler records back in the day too, when it was all the rage.

koh303
14-May-2016, 18:17
Last time someone said something about buying an Ebony, there was a 6-18 month wait time. Who will miss these cameras? Upper crust "collectors" might lament it. For all others, the same amount of cameras made up to today, will be here tomorrow. Plenty of used, plenty of other options too, even for the people with to much money.

Peter De Smidt
14-May-2016, 18:30
I used a borrowed RW45 for a couple of months. It was a fine camera.

AnzaRunner
14-May-2016, 20:28
I've had my Ebony RW810 since 2009. It functions beautifully, and I really appreciate the craftsmanship that went into it. The quality materials make for a very well built camera that hasn't let me down. I don't see it as a "status symbol" as some people said earlier in this thread. I see it as a well designed tool that doesn't get in the way of my creative process. It sets up fast, is solid, and I don't have to fight it. I must say that I've had thoughts about buying a second one just in case something happens to my current camera -- but they are so well built that I don't think that will be a problem. The bigger factor is the long term availability of color film.

Kirk Gittings
14-May-2016, 20:36
It might be good to refresh our perspective by recalling those professional, commercial photographers who used large format. My last exposure to it was Chicago in the mid-seventies where LF was the standard. The pro was located within a short walk to the processing lab. Proofs were provided, adjustments made and upon approval of the art director the project was closed within the day, sometimes later.

The output from 4x5 and usually 8x10 far, far exceeded the requisites of their application. So be it.

Translate that to the current digital flow, efficiency, lower fidelity media and the economics are clear and depressing to old timers.
.

I may be classified as an old timer, but after 25 years of using LF exclusively for everything, digital is a far better tool for the current commercial market and frankly I love it. There are things I can do with it that were damn near impossible with film or prohibitively expensive.

Lachlan 717
14-May-2016, 21:27
Patched together

Oh, Jerry Rigged...

Lachlan 717
14-May-2016, 21:30
I've had my Ebony RW810 since 2009. It functions beautifully, and I really appreciate the craftsmanship that went into it. The quality materials make for a very well built camera that hasn't let me down. I don't see it as a "status symbol" as some people said earlier in this thread. I see it as a well designed tool that doesn't get in the way of my creative process. It sets up fast, is solid, and I don't have to fight it. I must say that I've had thoughts about buying a second one just in case something happens to my current camera -- but they are so well built that I don't think that will be a problem. The bigger factor is the long term availability of color film.

What about the stripped nut on the tilt? Was that a design issue?

Tim Meisburger
15-May-2016, 00:44
Last time someone said something about buying an Ebony, there was a 6-18 month wait time. Who will miss these cameras? Upper crust "collectors" might lament it. For all others, the same amount of cameras made up to today, will be here tomorrow. Plenty of used, plenty of other options too, even for the people with to much money.

I don't really feel "upper crust", and I'm not a collector. I had owned several cameras, and wanted one I would be happy with for the rest of my life. I happened to sell a lens, so had some cash, and spent a little more than twice the cost of a new Tachihara for a used Ebony in "like new" condition. Actually, it was better than new because the previous owner had installed a Maxwell screen, which is the brightest I have ever seen.

From a functional point of view, I don't feel like I was cheated or ripped off. A Tachi will do everything this camera will do, but this is a precision instrument with tight tolerances and easy adjustments; and robust and durable construction. Its sort of like the difference between contractor-grade tool and homeowner tools. Each will do the job, but the more durable and precise contractor tools cost a bit more. Compared to what people spend everyday for quickly obsolescent DSLRs it was not expensive, and will easily last my lifetime, my son's lifetime, and maybe his son's as well.

This camera will not make anyone a better photographer, and if someone cannot afford one or doesn't think it worth the cost, that's fine. They can accomplish all they want to with a Tachi or Ikeda Anba. But for those that want or need a durable camera and can afford it, the precision of a Ebony or Linhof or Arca Swiss will always be attractive. So, I'm sad to see them go.

barnacle
15-May-2016, 00:55
Indeed, Tim - "That's a nice picture, it must have been an expensive camera" is an all-too-common attitude...

I'm not in a position to buy an Ebony at present - and to be honest my preference is to make cameras rather than buy them - but it's a fine looking camera and I'll be, er, borrowing many aspects of one for my next attempt. In particular, the robustness.

Neil

Bob Salomon
15-May-2016, 04:49
Oh, Jerry Rigged...

No, jury rigged.

http://www.google.com/search?q=jury%20rigged

Bob Mann
15-May-2016, 04:56
Is this thread getting "off topic?"

Theodoros
15-May-2016, 05:04
Is this thread getting "off topic?"

It indeed does Bob... lets get back on topic then...

I'm sad too, but I think more makers that only have "traditional designs " in their line will follow... It's like "history repeats itself" as it happened in the past...
It is a tradition with the view camera market, that whenever a smaller image area appears which can offer enough image quality yet causing a significant reduction in costs with only insignificant to consider reduction in image quality, the makers that can't adapt their designs as to integrate the smaller image area to vanish... It has happened with sheet film when 5x4 arrived and dominated the market, it has happened with 120 film which caused current cameras of 2x3 image area size to be the "standard" of the market, it will happen again now with the mirrorless DSLRs offering 36x24 image area and shutter included...

Those makers that have provision in their designs as to be converted for 35mm image areas and offer an upgrade path on their line for one to upgrade into larger image areas in the future, will make it. The makers who ask for one to start a level higher (with MFDB or 120 film) which with digital is Top end, won't make it IMO...

It seems that photographers value higher the (huge) benefits of use that the view camera offers than the quality benefit the image area might offer... IMO, they are right to think this way... The benefits for one to (correctly) use a view camera is irreplaceable for one to miss, the (further) improvement of the light sensitive area can then be a future upgrade plan.

koh303
15-May-2016, 05:55
I'm sad too, but I think more makers that only have "traditional designs " in their line will follow...

Is there a shortage of current high quality and innovative camera makes? Absolutely not.
While its sad Ebony is gone, there are plenty of others who make wonderful and equally quality cameras, without naming names, i can think of 5 companies off the top of my head, at least some are at the same price range.

goamules
15-May-2016, 06:54
I know why they're going under, and it's not cost, it's shrinking buyer market. We've all been saying that. When a good digital DSLR costs several thousand, it doesn't seem the Ebony cameras are that out of line. If you compare the price range in other artist tools, like acoustic guitars, there is a huge range in prices. A player can buy a $100 guitar, a $1200 Laravee that is better, or a $5,000 Martin, or a $10,000 Collins. What is different? There are a LOT of people playing guitars, and each new generation spawns more. Large Format? Not at all.

Theodoros
15-May-2016, 07:57
Is there a shortage of current high quality and innovative camera makes? Absolutely not.
While its sad Ebony is gone, there are plenty of others who make wonderful and equally quality cameras, without naming names, i can think of 5 companies off the top of my head, at least some are at the same price range.

"equally quality" (to Ebony) yes there are plenty... "shortage of high quality and innovative cameras" though, there is hardly any maker over the past 20 years that has addressed the design problems coming from the past and only a few that (without addressing the past design issues) can be adapted for use with a FF mirrorles (yet raining the capability to be upgraded to larger image areas) and then, many cameras have design issues like having their tilt mechanism below the shift one and only a few (less than a handful) have swings above side shifts (like it should be). Other than that, there is no camera that has lens & image area adjustment back and forth on the standard so that the user will secure yaw free operation with any lens or image area used...

I think that if Dr. Scheimpflug was alive and was asked to mark all cameras made over the past two centuries, his marks would range from 0 up to 6.5 (the later for a couple out the best modern ones...) The saddest thing out of all, is that makers have moved the game on the ergonomic or "feeling of the mechanisms" field, (which hardly makes a difference for image quality) and they concentrate on building a "marketing image" instead on making a camera that Dr. Scheimplug would give it a 10 (out of 10) which is very easy to achieve and in many cases cheaper too than many of the (useless & expensive) solutions applied today...

Jim Becia
15-May-2016, 09:25
I've had my Ebony RW810 since 2009. It functions beautifully, and I really appreciate the craftsmanship that went into it. The quality materials make for a very well built camera that hasn't let me down. I don't see it as a "status symbol" as some people said earlier in this thread. I see it as a well designed tool that doesn't get in the way of my creative process. It sets up fast, is solid, and I don't have to fight it. I must say that I've had thoughts about buying a second one just in case something happens to my current camera -- but they are so well built that I don't think that will be a problem. The bigger factor is the long term availability of color film.

I agree with Ben about the Ebony. I have had one also for about the same amount of time. I am certainly not a "status" seeker as some claim Ebony users to be. It is a wonderful camera that has not let me down since buying it. Mine has probably seen more use than cameras and is going strong. I have also had an Ebony 4x5 and Ebony 5x7 that I sold, but only because I wanted to concentrate on 8x10. They were both incredible cameras. While I have picked up a Chamonix 8x10 also, I bought it for its lighter weight. That being said, I have reached for or packed the Ebony for every shot since buying the Chamonix. It is sad to see a fine camera maker like Ebony throw in the towel, but I guess that is a sign of the times. Do I wish they were less expensive, sure, but that does not diminish the excellent cameras that Ebony made. My only regret is that I wish I had picked up the triple extension Ebony.

AnzaRunner
15-May-2016, 12:27
What about the stripped nut on the tilt? Was that a design issue?

That was more a matter of me over-tightening it through the years. That being said, nothing is perfect, and it's nice when the issue can be fixed with a replacement nut.

Bill_1856
15-May-2016, 12:50
I just found the invoice (Dated 1/6/76) from Graphic Imports in Honolulu for my "Nagaoka 4x5 Camera w/lensboard Camera #447." $217.50 plus $15 for two extra lensboards. Airmail included.
I still have and use that camera, which is in virtually mint condition (kept in original cardboard box, which may be starting to get a little tattered). Don't know why I'd ever want to spend $5000 for an Ebony to do the same job.

Jonathan Barlow
15-May-2016, 13:24
To be fair, what cost $217.50 in 1976 would cost $914.88 in 2016 (Adjusted for inflation). But $914.88 is still a lot less than $2,000. Then again, a Nagaoka is not as pretty or refined as an Ebony.

Bill_1856
15-May-2016, 16:15
To be fair, what cost $217.50 in 1976 would cost $914.88 in 2016 (Adjusted for inflation). But $914.88 is still a lot less than $2,000. Then again, a Nagaoka is not as pretty or refined as an Ebony.

Aux contraire(sp) -- in my eyes, it's even prettier and at 2.25# it's a more refined design. The loss of Nagaoka as a manufacturer is a much worse disaster than the loss of Ebony.
(No intention of starting a troll.)

axs810
15-May-2016, 23:30
I just hope the used market price doesn't go up a ridiculous amount like the fp-100c did...I can't afford one now but would love to own an Ebony camera one day...

Drew Wiley
16-May-2016, 12:43
A lot of second guessing here. Maybe somebody just wanted to retire and do something else while they still can. Most of these folders are small shop operations
without corporate continuity. I don't see cost having anything to do with it. Gosh knows how many doctors or lawyers have shown up at workshops with ten thousand dollars worth of Sinar or Linhof still new in boxes. As still a woodworking salesman I see analogous things all the time. Mostly users, but every now and then somebody spends tens of thousands of dollars at a pop just for the bragging rights, or pride of ownership in tools they never intend to use. View cameras are cheap by comparison. Even trailer rednecks spend small fortunes on fancy four-wheel rigs or speedboats. But at the moment there is no shortage of cleverly designed field camera options to choose from. Frankly, I could not afford an Ebony at current pricing. But I bought at the right time, and certainly do
not regret my decision.

Drew Wiley
16-May-2016, 12:49
Bill - get ahold of an Ebony. Way more rigid for the weight than a Nagoaka. That characteristic is vital for me. Hardware is in a different league. Cast brass wears out; titanium hardware will outlast the camera itself. I use these things in some mighty rough conditions, year after year. A Nagaoka, Tachi, Wista, or Wisner would be in splinters by now, regardless of cheap or expensive.

peter schrager
16-May-2016, 12:55
Drew i can send photos of my wista...over 30 years old now..only replaced bellows once..buy a wista!!

Drew Wiley
16-May-2016, 13:11
I've seen lots of Wistas, and glad your's has held up well for your own purposes. They're lovely. But there is a completely valid reason Ebony is way more expensive. Any small wooden folder is really pushing the edge for the kind of conditions I work in. I've worn out several Sinars, which are getting just too heavy
for longhaul usage (fine on dayhikes). On my last five summer vacations I only had one day where I DIDN'T encounter severe rain, sleet, hail, or snow. But that's what gives wonderful lighting in the mountains. I'd like weather a little more mild this year, but know that storms just come with the territory. And weight to stiffness ratio is a high priority with me. That's where Ebony excels. I like my Phillips 8x10 for the same reason.

Drew Wiley
16-May-2016, 13:15
I should have added that I tend to shoot long lenses mostly. So rigidity at full extension defines my needs more specifically. My Ebony 4x5 will easily handle a
360. On the other end, if I employ a roll film back, the camera must be rigid enough to keep it from tugging the back. That's even more of a litmus test than the
rigidity of the front standard.

Jim Becia
16-May-2016, 14:05
I had a talk with Jeff at Badger Graphics today. Simply put, Hiromi has decided basically to retire. He has been making cameras for 35 years since 1981 and I guess decided it was time to call it quits.

Having used both a Nagaoka and Ebony, I can state that while the Nagaoka was lightweight, it is no Ebony. But like anything, different strokes for different folks. To me the Ebony was and is far superior, not that it makes any difference if you feel Ebony to be overpriced. To me it was, and is well worth the expenditure.

Jac@stafford.net
16-May-2016, 15:03
I had a talk with Jeff at Badger Graphics today. Simply put, Hiromi has decided basically to retire. He has been making cameras for 35 years since 1981 and I guess decided it was time to call it quits.

That seems most reasonable. When I retired some students asked why. My reply was simple, "I have been working for someone else for over fifty years. Enough is enough." There were responses and echos of, "That's longer than our parents have been alive." Amen.

Very best to Hiromi !

Kevin Crisp
16-May-2016, 15:40
"should I get run over by a truck, that the Ebony is now worth a fair bit of money!"

Not if you're standing behind it with a darkcloth over your head.

peter schrager
16-May-2016, 16:11
The ONLY SUPERIOR Camera is the one you use..

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G900A using Tapatalk

Jim Becia
16-May-2016, 16:32
The ONLY SUPERIOR Camera is the one you use..

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G900A using Tapatalk

And like I wrote, "to me the Ebony was and is far superior." I did not say it was superior for other users, that is for others to decide.

P Wright
16-May-2016, 16:37
I had a talk with Jeff at Badger Graphics today. Simply put, Hiromi has decided basically to retire. He has been making cameras for 35 years since 1981 and I guess decided it was time to call it quits.

Having used both a Nagaoka and Ebony, I can state that while the Nagaoka was lightweight, it is no Ebony. But like anything, different strokes for different folks. To me the Ebony was and is far superior, not that it makes any difference if you feel Ebony to be overpriced. To me it was, and is well worth the expenditure.

I wonder if Hiromi has considered selling the business. It would be a shame for the company to shut down.

David Karp
16-May-2016, 17:56
I wonder if Hiromi has considered selling the business. It would be a shame for the company to shut down.

That would be tough if he makes the cameras! :-)

Bill_1856
16-May-2016, 19:10
I should have added that I tend to shoot long lenses mostly. So rigidity at full extension defines my needs more specifically. My Ebony 4x5 will easily handle a
360. On the other end, if I employ a roll film back, the camera must be rigid enough to keep it from tugging the back. That's even more of a litmus test than the
rigidity of the front standard.
You might consider a nice Technika. Much, much prettier and even more rugged than an Ebony.

Theodoros
17-May-2016, 03:25
I had a talk with Jeff at Badger Graphics today. Simply put, Hiromi has decided basically to retire. He has been making cameras for 35 years since 1981 and I guess decided it was time to call it quits.

Having used both a Nagaoka and Ebony, I can state that while the Nagaoka was lightweight, it is no Ebony. But like anything, different strokes for different folks. To me the Ebony was and is far superior, not that it makes any difference if you feel Ebony to be overpriced. To me it was, and is well worth the expenditure.

I'm sure Jim that anyone who retires wants to see his creations to continue in the market as to build a legendary status... From that POV, I think that Mr.Hiromi's retirement is totally irrelevant to the ...EBONY retirement and can only be used as a "cheap excuse"... I'm sure if there was enough market to support Ebony's survival, there would be investors interest too in keeping it running.

dave_whatever
17-May-2016, 03:45
I'm sure Jim that anyone who retires wants to see his creations to continue in the market as to build a legendary status... From that POV, I think that Mr.Hiromi's retirement is totally irrelevant to the ...EBONY retirement and can only be used as a "cheap excuse"... I'm sure if there was enough market to support Ebony's survival, there would be investors interest too in keeping it running.

Really? For all you know he could be the driving force behind the business, and given the prices and turnaround time he could well be building or supervising all the cameras being made personally. Maybe there's no one else with his passion or expertise to take over? Seems a bit of a jump to proclaim his retirement is "totally irrelevant".

Theodoros
17-May-2016, 04:21
Really? For all you know he could be the driving force behind the business, and given the prices and turnaround time he could well be building or supervising all the cameras being made personally. Maybe there's no one else with his passion or expertise to take over? Seems a bit of a jump to proclaim his retirement is "totally irrelevant".

Enzo was the driving force behind Ferrari, Kondo was the driving force behind Audio Note, Victor was the driving force behind the V-system and the examples can be endless if one mentions them all... There is always a driving force that sets the standards behind products, as long as the standards have been set, there is no longer a need (if they work) for one to supervise them.... that's why they are called "standards".

RichardRitter
17-May-2016, 04:46
Take a look at all the camera manufactures that in the past 20 years that are out of business. Some where sold while others tried to get a get someone to take over.

Zone VI was sold to Calumet and is now out of business and no longer in production

Wisner Tried to turn the business over to someone that worked for him. Cameras are no longer in production.

Philips Tried to turn the business over to a family member. Dick was probably right, best to just close the door and make an end to the production of the camera.

Where as Deardorf is in the grey area as to what is happening. Deardorff has been sold twice, once to a business that moved it to Tennessee and then to one of their workers. It's status is questionable.


If I were Mr Hiromi I would just do what he is doing. The track record of the cameras brands that have survived the change of hands is not good. Plus it's been pointed out through out the thread it is a passion. It is also a night mare I know from experience.

P Wright
17-May-2016, 05:26
That would be tough if he makes the cameras! :-)

Not Really. We bought a business that was started in 1947 and we haven't had any problems. What if someone like Keith Canham or Richard Ritter decided to buy the business and keep it going? There are plenty of capable folks on this forum that could handle this venture.

Theodoros
17-May-2016, 05:45
Take a look at all the camera manufactures that in the past 20 years that are out of business. Some where sold while others tried to get a get someone to take over.

Zone VI was sold to Calumet and is now out of business and no longer in production

Wisner Tried to turn the business over to someone that worked for him. Cameras are no longer in production.

Philips Tried to turn the business over to a family member. Dick was probably right, best to just close the door and make an end to the production of the camera.

Where as Deardorf is in the grey area as to what is happening. Deardorff has been sold twice, once to a business that moved it to Tennessee and then to one of their workers. It's status is questionable.


If I were Mr Hiromi I would just do what he is doing. The track record of the cameras brands that have survived the change of hands is not good. Plus it's been pointed out through out the thread it is a passion. It is also a night mare I know from experience.

Exactly my point as well... Ebony won't make it if it continues with or without Mr.Hiromi... All companies you mention retained the standards and didn't make it at the end...

IMO, all makers that can't adapt their designs as to work with smaller (digital) image areas will vanish... The newcomers to the view camera market are now looking to use a FF mirrorless as to start and then be able to advance on larger image areas in the future by following a step by step process based on the initial platform.

Jac@stafford.net
17-May-2016, 06:12
[...] I'm sure if there was enough market to support Ebony's survival, there would be investors interest too in keeping it running.

Investors today can make a lot more money sitting on their ass, having business lunches and lazying about than they can putting money into a tiny enterprise such as quality LF camera making. Their motivation is to become rich, not involved in a modest niche enterprise.

Theodoros
17-May-2016, 07:18
Investors today can make a lot more money sitting on their ass, having business lunches and lazying about than they can putting money into a tiny enterprise such as quality LF camera making. Their motivation is to become rich, not involved in a modest niche enterprise.

This is correct, but it assumes that "investors" are only of the multimillion kind... For companies at the size of Ebony, "investors" usually come out of the dealers which have double interest to keep the company going... If there is no interest out of dealers, it means that the product isn't providing as to be of importance for their selling bussiness either...

linkedit
17-May-2016, 08:17
Maybe they finally realized that the market for a $10k wooden camera is insanely small. There is no professional market for a camera like that. And how many hobbyists are willing to spend that kind of money when chinese versions are available at a fraction of the cost.

Drew Wiley
17-May-2016, 08:29
Any camera of this nature has to be a labor of love. One has to find satisfaction is the craft itself, and what the end product correspondingly provides the end user. Even back when far bigger camera companies offered wooden folders under their labels, these were no doubt made in small subcontracting shops. It's not like fabricating dies then pressing components thousands at a time. Yes, things like CNC have come into play with small batch parts; but in the case of Ebony, even the hardware shows evidence of a lot of old-fashioned machine shop labor. This really has ZERO to do with digital adaptation versus film per se. There just isn't that level of scale. Even if you took all the predominantly metal studio monorails specifically designed for digital backs, the overall market is rather small. Nobody is going to invest in something like this unless they have either a personal interest or inherited relation to it. There are a number of us who have enough shops skills to make our own field cameras; some already have. Nobody does this to get rich at it. When you make something really nice, it can be
downright hard to part with it.

Drew Wiley
17-May-2016, 10:43
... Referring to previous posts, I've never heard of dealers "investing" in any of the lines they offer. They make their profits on markups, not on manufacture,
except in those cases where a "factory store" is involved, with alleged direct sales (though most of these alleged outlets predominately sell substitute goods). Second, most of the folks I've met with an interest in ULF want only the very best to begin with. The difference between five thousand dollars, ten thousand, or twenty thousand is meaningless to them. Just another weekend hobby for when they're not on their yacht instead. Just pull into any parking lot. People routinely
spend ten or twenty thousand more than they need to for self-image, choosing a car, even welfare people! Just depends on your priorities. There are more rich people than you think. I'm not one of them.

Jac@stafford.net
17-May-2016, 12:28
This is correct, but it assumes that "investors" are only of the multimillion kind... For companies at the size of Ebony, "investors" usually come out of the dealers which have double interest to keep the company going... If there is no interest out of dealers, it means that the product isn't providing as to be of importance for their selling bussiness either...

So if a niche business accepts investors, they take a cut from his modest profit and he makes very little, possibly not enough to pay living expenses. Alternatively the owner/operator tries to take the company public; and that ain't going to happen for several good reasons.

Bob Salomon
17-May-2016, 12:34
Investors today can make a lot more money sitting on their ass, having business lunches and lazying about than they can putting money into a tiny enterprise such as quality LF camera making. Their motivation is to become rich, not involved in a modest niche enterprise.
Look into the owner of Leica, who now also is the owner of Sinar.

Bob Salomon
17-May-2016, 12:35
... Referring to previous posts, I've never heard of dealers "investing" in any of the lines they offer. They make their profits on markups, not on manufacture,
except in those cases where a "factory store" is involved, with alleged direct sales (though most of these alleged outlets predominately sell substitute goods). Second, most of the folks I've met with an interest in ULF want only the very best to begin with. The difference between five thousand dollars, ten thousand, or twenty thousand is meaningless to them. Just another weekend hobby for when they're not on their yacht instead. Just pull into any parking lot. People routinely
spend ten or twenty thousand more than they need to for self-image, choosing a car, even welfare people! Just depends on your priorities. There are more rich people than you think. I'm not one of them.

When the Kochs had to sell Sinar they sold it to their largest dealer in Switzerland. They only owned it for a few years and now it is owned by Leica.

Theodoros
17-May-2016, 12:42
So if a niche business accepts investors, they take a cut from his modest profit and he makes very little, possibly not enough to pay living expenses. Alternatively the owner/operator tries to take the company public; and that ain't going to happen for several good reasons.

Who said that?

What I said, is that if there is a benefit for dealers as for a supplier to keep suppling, there is usually the dealers buying the supplier as to retain the supply.

Drew Wiley
17-May-2016, 13:04
Bromwell, Badger Graphic, and later one other US dealer I'm aware of stocked modest amounts of the most popular Ebony cameras. Otherwise, it was basically a limited production outfit all along, with its expanded line of specialty cameras being special order items. No different with the fellow up the street who sells handmade Japanese laminated chisels for a thousand bucks a set - a family manufacturing unit supplying them, with a few apprentices, just like the dealer himself. The minute someone comes along and buys out something like this, it almost instantly collapses. And this did happen to their only local competitor. Retirement meant the end of the whole game from a practical standpoint. It takes a personal touch. MBA's are good at nothing except efficiency, that is, greasing the wheels
of bankruptcy.

Bob Salomon
17-May-2016, 13:39
Bromwell, Badger Graphic, and later one other US dealer I'm aware of stocked modest amounts of the most popular Ebony cameras. Otherwise, it was basically a limited production outfit all along, with its expanded line of specialty cameras being special order items. No different with the fellow up the street who sells handmade Japanese laminated chisels for a thousand bucks a set - a family manufacturing unit supplying them, with a few apprentices, just like the dealer himself. The minute someone comes along and buys out something like this, it almost instantly collapses. And this did happen to their only local competitor. Retirement meant the end of the whole game from a practical standpoint. It takes a personal touch. MBA's are good at nothing except efficiency, that is, greasing the wheels
of bankruptcy.
Badger sells them on special order only, per their web site. Bruce's View Camera Store and Midwest Photo are the other Ebony authorized dealers in the USA. Both seem to stock some cameras.

Jac@stafford.net
17-May-2016, 13:50
Look into the owner of Leica, who now also is the owner of Sinar.

Who knows how successful Leica is? It is not a public enterprise.

Drew Wiley
17-May-2016, 13:59
Bromwell imported them first, back when the only choice of wood was indeed ebony. I bought my camera from Badger, who had them in stock for quick shipment during that era. Then all kinds of custom options arose which would be hard for anybody to realistically stock. Chamonix and Shen-Hao have followed suit, maybe
Lotus too, though you don't encounter many of them in this country. I love that little Ebony for backpacking trips and airline travel. But my Sinar Norma is a way more versatile, durable, and quicker to operate 4x5 rig than any folder. My 8x10 folder is a Phillips. I love its simplicity. And I bought it cheap, being one of the
first in to try it out. Never could afford an Ebony 8x10 or 5X7; but if I could .........

Robert Kalman
19-May-2016, 07:37
I've had my Ebony RW810 since 2009. It functions beautifully, and I really appreciate the craftsmanship that went into it. The quality materials make for a very well built camera that hasn't let me down. I don't see it as a "status symbol" as some people said earlier in this thread. I see it as a well designed tool that doesn't get in the way of my creative process. It sets up fast, is solid, and I don't have to fight it. I must say that I've had thoughts about buying a second one just in case something happens to my current camera -- but they are so well built that I don't think that will be a problem. The bigger factor is the long term availability of color film.

++1

Jason_K
30-Jun-2016, 21:15
Sad news. Is Wisner still around? ;)

Professional
30-Jun-2016, 22:25
Really very sad news, i was waiting the time to afford a model of Ebony and now sounds it is gone, i don't know when i can afford what i want regardless they are very expensive before they are gone?!!!

Now what else model i would get? i have Shen Hao but i always try to find even very tiny missing feature to curse my gear, this Shen Hao lack of front Shift, and it has all other movements even on rear, now i saw few models of Ebony that has full range of movements front and back, so then what another model rather than Ebony and Linhof i can find with full movements [front and rear: shift, tilt, swing, rise/fall]???

Bob Mann
1-Jul-2016, 03:48
Canham, still being produced had all that you listed.

Bob Salomon
1-Jul-2016, 04:32
Sad news. Is Wisner still around? ;)

No, but Wista is.

Professional
1-Jul-2016, 06:18
Canham, still being produced had all that you listed.

Which model?

Bob Mann
1-Jul-2016, 08:27
Canham has a website with full specs on all their models.

Drew Wiley
1-Jul-2016, 08:35
Wisners were cute, but the lighter ones were downright flimsy compared to Ebony. I'd rather have one of these newer Chamonix-style cameras or a Canaham.
But since I already own Phillips and Ebony cameras, along with Sinar, I'm not looking for anything new.

Andrew O'Neill
1-Jul-2016, 11:00
I love my 8x10 Canham. Light weight version.

Ari
1-Jul-2016, 18:21
I hope Gibellini cameras will fill the void left by Ebony. They're doing interesting stuff with modern materials and CNC.
You can have a Gibellini made to order, with full rear movements as an option. Standard version has rear swing but no tilt beyond 90˚ vertical, that's the only extra you'd pay for.
I chose not to get it with my camera, seeing first how often I might need it; if it's needed, the spare parts can be ordered and installed by the end user.
My review of the Gibellini is coming soon, but I'm very busy with other work now, and can't find the time to use it.

Steve Barber
5-Jul-2016, 13:21
Wisners were cute, but the lighter ones were downright flimsy compared to Ebony. I'd rather have one of these newer Chamonix-style cameras or a Canaham.
But since I already own Phillips and Ebony cameras, along with Sinar, I'm not looking for anything new.

I keep an Ebony Wide 45 and an Ebony SV45U2 here, in Europe, and a Wisner Technical Field 4x5 in the States for when I am there. The Wisner is capable of producing any image I can produce using the Ebony cameras and it is, certainly, not flimsy.

Drew Wiley
5-Jul-2016, 13:32
The Technicals were unduly big clunkers as far as I'm concerned. The lighter folders, flimsy indeed. Spend some serious time up amidst the peaks and my bias get apparent really quick.

Professional
11-Jul-2016, 02:38
Great news for me, sounds when Ebony is going out of business and a model i was looking[or eye-ing] for long time was gone then Chamonix is the answer from GOD, they have a new model that i will think to buy it instead of Ebony, way way cheaper than Ebony and it has almost what i look for in Ebony, so no full sadness there, now i just have to save money and sell my Shen Hao first then i am all in [or if i can afford the money without selling Shen Hao first].

Thanks and sorry for my post, i can't wait to shoot LF seriously now after i am almost settled in my new house, and here is the best place to post my results, just if someone of you know where i can buy a used drum scanner good enough and good price but with international shipping i will be happy too.

Pere Casals
16-Jul-2016, 06:54
Ebony was a workshop employing some 7 people.

Mr Hiromi Sakanashi retires at 73 and ceases production, still they will provide support for their products, but since June 30 they do not accept orders for new cameras.

So from now Ebony cameras are like Stradivarius violins, a certain number of them are out there, made of noble woods...

http://www.digitaltrends.com/photography/ebony-camera-closes-shop/

Sal Santamaura
16-Jul-2016, 07:02
Posted two months ago:


http://www.largeformatphotography.info/forum/showthread.php?130916-Ebony-Camera-Going-Out-of-Business-Confirmed

Pere Casals
16-Jul-2016, 07:31
sorry, I was not aware... I could figure it...

Oren Grad
16-Jul-2016, 08:55
Threads merged.

Pere Casals
16-Jul-2016, 10:25
Perfect !! Thanks !!

John Kasaian
26-Jul-2016, 08:37
I'm still waiting for their "going out of business sale"

Drew Wiley
26-Jul-2016, 08:53
Are you beginning to stray from your beloved Elkdorff, John?

John Kasaian
26-Jul-2016, 17:05
Are you beginning to stray from your beloved Elkdorff, John?
It's hard to resist a bargain, but no. I'm a committed (in more ways than one) 'dorffer lol!

carylee2002
26-Jul-2016, 21:09
I'm glad I got my Ebony RW45 used in mint condition last year and so I'm good for now along with my Anniversary Speed Graphic for using my Petzval and RR lenses. But if I see a nice 8x10 or 11x14 Ebony come my direction at a reasonable price...I will definitely will try to bounce on it ASAP.

Drew Wiley
27-Jul-2016, 11:53
Hoping to encounter an Ebony 8x10 at a "reasonable" price is about as statistically likely as finding an Ivory Billed woodpecker. The RW810 had a brief introductory
price that was tempting, but soon it shot to the stratosphere. I'm content just to own the RW45 along with a Phillips 8x10.

e
15-Aug-2016, 21:42
Glad I got my Ebony 8x10 a couple of years ago..
Jim at Midwest gave me a good deal on a new one..

Paul Cunningham
15-Aug-2016, 22:28
Just received my new 45SU this week, perhaps the last ever built. It is achingly beautiful and a fine machine of wood and metal. I'm falling in love.


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